A COLLECTION OF BUSINESS BRIEFS FROM AROUND THE HAMILTON AREA
A painting a day …
MAJOR LEAGUE Baseball players. American TV host Billy Bush. A couple riding giant versions of their pet cats while battling toy mice.
These are only a handful of the more than 700 commissioned portraits Melissa Stewart has painted since she started her business Missy’s Portraits in 2011.
Originally a graphic artist, Stewart decided to give her own portrait business a try while she was on maternity leave with her first daughter.
“It took off really quickly,” the Hamilton mom of two said, noting she had 37 paintings on the go at the end of January. “I stay very busy.”
Stewart typically spends four hours in the morning painting and another two in the evening after her daughters go to bed.
It typically takes her about six to seven hours to complete one of her realistic oil portraits, but it can vary based on the size.
Pets, people and houses make up the bulk of Stewart’s clients’ requests — from real estate agents commissioning paintings of homes, to parents who want portraits of their children, to folks who love their pets.
But she has had some big name customers — namely Billy Bush, known most recently for his conversation with President Donald Trump during an “Access Hollywood” segment in 2005, as well as the National Hockey League Players’ Association, which commissioned paintings of some of its players.
While the majority of Stewart’s customers are from across Canada, the United States and elsewhere in the world, she has had a few local customers, including the family of Hamilton Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, who commissioned a painting of him and his dog after he died.
“I do a lot of memorial paintings for people who have passed away,” she said. “It’s tough sometimes, but I know that it’s meaningful to that person.”
Cartoons for business
JEFFREY MARR has never enjoyed holding a job.
“A lot of people don’t like it, but I really, really hate it,” the 27-year-old said.
It’s not that the Hamilton resident doesn’t like working — he just prefers to do it for himself.
Since he was in his early 20s, Marr has tried his hand at a couple of different business ventures, from real estate to fitness ventures.
His latest — Between the Lines Animations — launched in March 2016. His company makes animated videos for marketing or training purposes.
He started out by creating animated book summaries on YouTube in December 2015. After going through the city’s Starter Company program, he received a little coin and a lot of mentorship to help him on his way.
Now he creates one-and-a-half to three minute videos for companies like Nelson Education that are meant to be an easier way for people to retain information without it being a chore.
While Marr lives in Hamilton, having an online business means the world is his oyster.
That’s why he’s able to set off to Thailand with a handful of other entrepreneurs for a few months this winter where they’ll work remotely to flush out their businesses.
When he’s home though, he works out of his living room where it can sometimes be more of a challenge to stay focused.
“I get distracted a little bit,” he said.
Feet up at the fire
RELAXING IN FRONT of a fire with a bottle of wine.
That’s the experience Brendan Kover of Hamilton Home Comfort hopes his customers enjoy after having a fireplace installed in their home.
“I personally love fireplaces,” the 31year-old said. “I always enjoyed sitting around the fire as a kid.”
The Stoney Creek heating and cooling business has been around since 2007, but when Kover took over from his parents, he brought his own passion to the place.
Now at least 60 per cent of business conducted is fireplaces, with the remainder including furnaces and air conditioners in the summer, he said.
“Furnaces, to me, are somewhat boring. Nobody looks at their furnace,” said Kover, a law school graduate. “Fireplaces are kind of like the centrepiece of the house.”
Artist Melissa Stewart in her home studio where she paints portraits from customers’ photos.